News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 5, 2021: SPECIAL NOTE: do yourself a favor read – this entire episode!
Amanda Gorman has earned an episode of Biden’s America based on her outstanding poetic performance at Biden’s Inauguration. But that would not have been enough based on the high standards of this weekly series to bring you Truths you will not find elsewhere, and which are certainly not explained with as much power and imagination as in Biden’s America.
There are two other reasons for Amanda Gorman earning this distinction. The very related facts of my recent published comment in a NY Times to an article about the lack of Black leadership in the NFL – which makes reference to Gorman being chosen to deliver a poem just before the start of Sunday’s SuperBowl 2021 game, never ever done in any of the prior 54 SuperBowls. Poetry!
Rather than the bubbly, even euphoric commentaries about Amanda Gorman and the SuperBowl you will read every place else the next few days ……
Here you will find an exploration of the deeper powerful issues at play! I present Amanda Gorman as a classic, very current example, of how power works, and why we do not ever see the kind of CHANGE many want and most pointedly for African Americans as exemplified by Amanda Gorman.
This is not a criticism of Amanda Gorman, but the reality she represents. NO most of you, even my readers do not understand, and proof positive is unless you read this episode you will gush over Amanda Gorman Sunday.
So let’s dig in …..
Logically I will begin with the NY Times article this week which references Gorman and which led to my published comment in reply. The NFL itself is also symbolic here while also being very real. The NFL exemplifies the reality for Africa Americans in the halls of power everywhere. Likewise, the problem for African Americans highlights the lack of power most Americans have.
The title of this NY Times article is: “The N.F.L.’s Flagging Effort to Hire Black Head Coaches.” This is how the article opens and it is a mouthful …
“The league announced last week that Amanda Gorman, America’s first youth poet laureate, whose soaring verse on a nation rived by race and conflict enthralled viewers of President Biden’s inauguration, would deliver a pregame poem at the Super Bowl on Sunday.”
“On the one hand, that’s terrific news. Gorman’s way with words is a tonic we need right now. On the other hand, beware. Pro football’s embrace of a young Black woman like Gorman — coming on the heels of its sudden, forced support of Black Lives Matter after the killing of George Floyd — is part of a public-relations campaign that obscures troubling reality.”
The Times article continues ….
“Black players make up about 70 percent of N.F.L. rosters, meaning they provide the bulk of the entertainment. Yet whites hold the power and won’t let go. No Black team ownership. A sprinkle of Black faces in upper management. It took until 1989 for N.F.L. to hire a Black coach for the first time in the league’s modern era. Not much has changed: Now there are 3.”
The article goes on to detail the complete lack of African American participation in NFL ownership and very little senior management even though 70% of the players are African American and have long been SEVENTY PERCENT. There are an overwhelming number of Black players in the NFL because of their superior talent not because they are Black. The White Guys who control the multi-billion-dollar EMPIRE which is the NFL needs all the Black players because they make the White Guys VERY RICH.
No, I don’t want to overstate the comparison. These Black players are very well paid for all the concussions their brains endure many are RICH as a result of playing in the NFL still we can draw a useful comparison with pre-Civil War PLANTATION society in terms of complete White control in the NFL.
Now here is my published comment to this article including verse …
The best poem African American Amanda Gorman could possibly write and deliver and prove the power of poetry in front of a huge audience a far larger audience than at Biden’s Inauguration will be a poem about white privilege in the ownership and management of the National Football League.
Guaranteed she won’t Gorman has been “adopted” by them to serve as a happy face for the NFL and in return become more famous and rich. Too bad if she delivered the poem she should she could change the world of football.
Let me start her off ….
I am here to celebrate the NFL
I cannot do so I will not do so
ask me to do so when African American
owners and head coaches are all over their league
until that day arrives
I will protest I will not be silent
Colin Kaepernick my inspiration
I will not knell before inequality
lack of opportunity
America heed my prayer
join with me change this world.
END OF NYT COMMENT
So, this is how power works obviously. Offer a place of honor, an unprecedented opportunity for a very talented young African American Amanda Gorman, have her write a special poem to read at the most impressive event all year long the Super Bowl.
Make her an even larger media darling. Also pay her a lot of money most likely for her Super Bowl appearance. I will guess $100,000 or more.
The NFL owners and Commissioner are NOT stupid generally and specifically in dealing with African Americans. Amanda Gorman was NOT commissioned to write and deliver any poem she wants as she did at Biden’s Inaugural. NO Gorman has been specifically contracted to write and deliver a specific poem.
The NFL has boxed Amanda Gorman in BRILLIANTLY to make sure Amanda does NOT go off script. The NFL commissioned Gorman to write and deliver a poem specifically about the 3 honorary Super Bowl captains – an educator, a nurse, and a Marine veteran. Even better two of the 3 are African American!
Could you imagine Gorman going off script and by so doing “dishonor” these three exemplary honorary captains? Or could you imagine Gorman rejecting the offer because it will limit her ability to express herself?
NO, NO, NO!
Again, I do not fault Amanda Gorman. The disconnect is the REALITY of power in the NFL, which EXCLUDES African Americans. There are 32 owners of NFL teams; NONE are African American. There have been well over a hundred different owners of NFL teams since the NFL was created in 1920, 100 years ago. There has NEVER been a Black owner. NEVER!!!
ARE YOU READY FOR THIS? There have been 504 Head Coaches of NFL teams since 1920. FIVE HUNDRED & FOUR. There have been a total of FIVE African American NFL Head Coaches among these 504. That is 1%. ONE %!
Back to Amanda Gorman. She has been writing poetry, lots of poems and reading them since she was a very young girl. Gorman has won numerous awards for her poetry, and it won her admission to Harvard University. Amanda has the distinction of having been named the first ever National Youth Poet Laureate.
At the same time, no publisher had any interest in publishing a book of Amanda Gorman’s poems when thousands of books of poetry are published every year. EVERYTHING changed for Amanda at noon on January 20, 2021.
Now Viking, a major publishing industry powerhouse, will publish THREE books of poetry by Amanda Gorman this year with a first printing of one million copies each, a run reserved for the most important and popular authors. Amanda also now has a major contract with IMG Models for modelling and with its parent company for endorsements and other income generating opportunities.
All of this is very good. It looks like Amanda Gorman, now 22, will be a multi-millionaire well before she is 30, with luxury homes in various cities, probably flying everywhere on private jets, and with lots of friends among the rich and powerful everywhere. And yes she will generate lots of interest in poetry!
Amanda Gorman will be a role model; maybe THE role model for young African American girls and boys for years to come. At the same time there is a BIG problem, and it is not Amanda Gorman’s fault. Her talent aside, compare her as a role model, an AFrian American who wins a $1 Billion lottery jackpot. Should that inspire other African Americans to believe they can win $1 Billion?
Amanda Gorman always refers to herself as a poet and ACTIVIST, not just a poet. The majority of her poetry is about African American oppression and lack of opportunity. Her three new books will be filled with those poems.
The problem, is for those who care, the NFL will USE Amanda Gorman Sunday at the Super Bowl to allow the NFL to give hundreds of millions of viewers the impression it is an inclusive organization, FAIR to African Americans in every way, when it absolutely is not. That is how power OPPRESSES the powerless.
As I wrote in my NY Times comment about Amanda Gorman …”if she delivered the poem she should, she could change the world of football.”
Amanda will NOT do so Sunday; she will NOT use her power. And the NFL will not change!
(This series dedicated in honor of the late Liu Xiaobo & Jamal Khashoggi)